Christine Anto, a partner in the firm’s Chicago office, recently obtained summary judgment in a declaratory judgment action in which a client’s $500,000.00 policy limits were at stake. Coverage was sought under a garage operations policy for an accident that occurred when a valet driver collided with a motorcyclist. The valet driver sought coverage from the client on the basis that he was a permissive user of an insured vehicle arguing that the vehicle bore license plates and an insurance card identifying the named insured
In cross-motions for summary judgment, Christine argued that the existence of license plates and an insurance card alone were insufficient to prove that the vehicle was being used in connection with the insured’s garage operations at the time of the accident, particularly where no other supported facts demonstrated any connection with the insured. The defendants argued that there was a connection between the vehicle and the insured’s garage business because the vehicle had been kept at the insured’s business before the accident and the person who provided the vehicle to the valet driver had a relationship with the insured. The court rejected the defendants’ arguments and ruled in favor of the client, finding that it had no duty to defend or indemnify or the valet driver for the accident.
Notably, prior to the hearing on cross-motions for summary judgment, defendants repeatedly moved the court to allow additional discovery before ruling. Christine successfully argued that such discovery was irrelevant, untimely, and would not affect the court’s ability to determine the cross-motions. The court agreed and repeatedly denied defendants’ requests.